LONDON — Equinox Luxury Holdings, which owns a 51 percent stake in the London-based Jimmy Choo, is exploring strategic options for the luxury footwear brand that could include a possible sale, an initial public offering or a refinancing.

The company said in a statement Monday it has named NM Rothschild to investigate options after several investors approached Jimmy Choo earlier this year about acquiring the business.

“We received unsolicited approaches this summer, and gave the mandate to NM Rothschild. But we’re at the very, very early stages, so there is no timetable as such,” said Robert Bensoussan, a shareholder in Equinox and chief executive of Jimmy Choo.

Bensoussan added the timing was right to start looking at options for the business.

“It’s been about three years since Equinox made the investment, so it’s not unusual to be looking at options. We have exciting plans for the future development of the business, and [retained] Rothschild to assist us in reviewing how best to achieve these ambitions.”

Regarding market rumors that Burberry was interested in purchasing all or part of Jimmy Choo, a Burberry spokesman said: “This is pure speculation, and it is not Burberry’s policy to comment on speculation.”

Bensoussan also declined to comment on the rumor. Meanwhile, well-placed industry sources said Burberry is committed to organic growth and no talks have taken place between the companies.

Sources said the company could be valued at more than $180 million, or 100 million pounds. Sales in the 2004 fiscal year are expected to reach $72 million, or 40 million pounds.

Equinox is the fashion investment arm of Phoenix Equity Partners, a London-based private equity fund manager that focuses on midmarket U.K. businesses.

The remaining 49 percent of Jimmy Choo is in the hands of Tamara Mellon and her family. Mellon is the president of Jimmy Choo.

— Samantha Conti

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